Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hireling

From the Holy Bible:  
John 10: 11-14
11 I am the good ashepherd: the good bshepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and aleaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
 13 The ahireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
 14 I am the good ashepherd, and bknow my csheep, and am known of mine.
I heard someone (not the Bible) once say that hirelings don't get it done.  A hireling is someone who anciently was "hired" by the owner of the sheep.  They lived with the sheep, fed the sheep, and stayed with the sheep.  Even though the sheep were not theirs.
With them not being the true shepherd, the scriptures say that when danger comes upon the sheep, a hireling that is not invested would run away.  I can believe it.
I guess I have always thought of as a lack of commitment or dedication.
There are some jobs that we even now as "hirelings" would run away from.  I don't want to list what I think those might be, because everyone feels differently about their jobs.  I have always applied it to myself, as a mother.  I have stayed home, 20 years now, by choice because I think that in regards to my baby goats, I can do a better job than a hireling.
I don't expect everyone to feel this way, or think that I am judging those mothers who do not stay home.  I have no opinion in regards to your decisions as a mother or father.  This is just the judgement that Mr. Fun and I have made for ourselves regarding our family.
I think I have applied this thought to more situations than I should have. My dad owned a business for a couple decades and I NEVER thought that his employees had as much emotionally invested as he and my mom did.  They showed up late.  They showed up hung over.  That is if they showed up at all.  They were "hirelings."
To my credit, there is one area that I have never thought folks were just "hirelings."

School teachers.
If I have said it once, I have said it a million times....I love teachers.  Especially public school teachers and administrators.
Always have.
I served about a decade in PTA.  Including as a president, a million committees and boards.  I read and believed the studies that parents who are involved " on the ground" in the classroom or have a presence somewhere in the school, their children do better in school. 
I have been blessed with great kiddos.  I think they accomplish actually despite my parenting sometimes.  
But because I believed what I had read, I started working in my local elementary school before The Girl was even in kindergarten.  My bestie Lori watched her when I went to do my small part with the kids.
Nothing changed when she started school.  And as The Boy got older, I dragged him with me, too.
He used to hang out with the custodian, Jay, who was his favorite fella ever.  They worked in the gym together, changed sprinkler heads together, and when I would wander where Boy was, I always knew he was in the loving care of Jay.  Jay was delightful with my little four year old son, and we even to this day still get a Christmas card from Jay and his family each year.  
There are some teachers in our lives that have gone beyond what they were paid for.  There is Kelly Kline who loved Girl into talking.  There was Mrs. Barnes who was the first to tell me the Girl was right-brained and I should read a book about unicorns.  She was also the teacher who also used her own money to install air conditioning in her own room in a building in hot Utah falls that has none so the kiddos were more comfy.  There was Mrs. Van Ballas who spent two years tutoring Boy at the kitchen table and will be sitting next to us at his high school graduation.  There is Mrs. Armstong who made the Boy's transition to Missouri easier.  There is Mr. Mayabb who told me that Girl was "brilliant" at military history, the same Girl who is now a collegiate History major.  There is Mrs. Burgess who has finagled a way for Boy to stay home for on-school, while still registered as a student in the district in a state that has no on-line public program.  There is even Ms. Nixon who taught a unit about brushing their teeth, using a tube of Crest as her example of toothpaste.  To this very single day, the Girl will not use anything else but Crest.  And there is Principal Newell and her funny husband "Dr. Noodleman" (as the Boy called him) who had my back when I got some ridiculous emails from some crazy while I was serving as PTA president.
These are folks who certainly did not act as "hirelings." 
They acted as co-parents to my children.  And a friend to me.
And I give them the respect they deserve as such.
Some of my best friends are educators.  Sheri, one of my besties I met in 7th grade, who, just this week as a good Mormon girl, could have used a drink.  Tiel, who has a gift that he could no longer use to support his growing family with.  Dave V, who I may not speak with for years, but we could pick up right now like it has only been days.  There is Laura L, my buddy here in KC whose 4th grade class helped raise over $10,000.00 for the Ronald McDonald House.  I spend months every year planning RYLA with the most amazing educators who actually lose money in the work like Marilyn and Rachel.  Even The Girl's boyfriend's mother and sister are educators.
Which brings me to my point.
Last night, I was feeling like everyone else.  Shocked.  Amazed.  Vomiting a little in my mouth when I heard that the parents of all the dead were in the same room when they heard "there will be no more reunions today."  I cannot, even in the greater dark depths of my mind--which admittedly are not that dark or deep--imagine what those sounds sounded like.
I cried.  Just like many of you.
And then I thought of the hirelings.
I very well could have been in that meeting with the principal and school psychologist who could have been discussing my son.   I have had many, many of those meetings, which can be hard on a good day.
I could have been in those classrooms, decorating with National Geographic pictures or counting box tops with the kids.  
But I wasn't.  It was, technically, the "hirelings."
Last night, in an interview, one of those hirelings said when she heard the shooting start, she said she did not have the luxury of losing control.  She had 19 five-year-olds to keep in control as well.  So what does the "hireling" do when someone is just down the hall killing their peers and her boss? Her friends?

She locked the door.  With herself inside.

She gathered them around in the corner of the room.

And she read them a story.
I am not a shepherd of many. I do not know what great responsibility lays on the hireling.

There is a teacher from my hometown, Mrs. F, that half the town must have had.  This is what she said on the Facebook today:

Having been in lockdown with students, you never forget the feeling and responsibility. Tragedies like this bring back all those feelings. Many people out there are quick to put teachers down, but those teachers are ready and willing to lay their lives on the line for their students when the need arises.

And I know the "hirelings" who have educated me and my children would have done the same thing for their "sheep."  I know they really are "shepherds" and would lay down their life.  For the sheep they did not bear themselves.

These Connecticut hirelings heard the wolf coming.  And they did not "fleeth."

God bless the educator.

Ironically, when I was double-checking my spelling for this blog, I stumbled across this dictionary defination


   BUH-tris  , verb;

To give encouragement or support to (a person, plan, etc.).  Sounds like a teacher to me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Heeey, sexy lady...."

See me get my Korean on!

Another yearly installment of the Jib Jab fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Pie in the Sky

Did you know a $25 pie can feed someone for a entire week?

I like those kind of numbers.

In the spirit of the season, I thought you should read something worth your time.

I love America and how Americans work together in creative ways to help each other.

God bless America.  Please.  :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Manti Teo--Families are Forever

I don't know football.

But I do know Mormons.

We are Christians.

We have faith.

And we have the ability to put our rubber to the road when necessary.

Thanks to my Mom, for this Bob the Builder story.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: "Marathon Man"

Meet Martin Parnell.

Snow, sleet and the dead of heat summer will not stop him.

Nope, he is not a postal worker (shout out to ours--Mark!).  But he is Canadian.

And he is a marathoner.

He is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill (pun intended) marathoner.

In 2010, he ran 250 marathons.  Yes, you read that right.  In ONE year.

That averages FIVE A WEEK!  Just a mere 6,550 miles.

Mark is a ROTARIAN (in Portugal, they were say "clato" which translates to "well, of course" in the tone my mother would say it) and believes that all kids should have the chance to play sports.

So, as the Rotarian way goes, Mark put his money where his mouth is.  He has a goal to raise $1,000,000.00 for a group called "Right to Play."  They are non-profit organization that specializes in bringing sporting opportunities to disadvantaged kids.

Marathons are not the only way he is working to achieve this goal.

The other is venturing out on 10 "quests" which already include setting two world records.  Read about one of them here....

This is just one, of many reasons, that I am proud to be a Rotarian.  :)

Ready, set, GO MARK!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Men in Green

I started some random essay years ago for no good reason called "Everything I need to know I learned from men in green."

I made a list of famous men wearing green/being green and what one could learn from them.

I got the idea when I had just had some great medication from having an outpatient procedure.

I figured that some of life's most pivotal key lessons were somehow connected to the color green.
See what I mean.  Great meds!

I haven't seen the paper list around until I stumbled into it a few days ago.

Thought you might enjoy it too.
Yoda:  wisdom
Green army men:  loyalty

Ompaa Lumpaas:  honesty
Incredible Hulk:  anger management
Kermit:  all-around nice guy
Oscar the Grouch:  crankiness
Robin Hood:  charity
Greedo:  a lasting impression

Grinch:  grudges
Green berets:  effective training
Riddler:  give it away
Green Goblin:  success at any price
Budwiser Frogs:  teamwork

Gecko for Geico:  make something boring fun
Toy Story Rex:  fear
Telly Tubbies:  good intentions
Alligator from Happy Gilmore:  karma
Peter Pan:  immaturity
Lyle Lyle Crocodile:  love in the family, regardless of species
Green pants with nobody inside them:  jumping to conclusions
Sneetches with green stars on their bellies:  peer pressure

Crocodile from Peter Pan:  memories
Forest soldiers from the Endor moon:  succeeding with what you have available

Have a great weekend!   Valsy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Bob wears a Tutu

Meet Bob. 

Not Bob the Builder.  That Bob is safe and sound in his basement, still creating dollhouses.

Wearing his pants....not a pink tutu.
This Bob, the award winner today, travels and wears a pink tutu.

It is his way of raising money to fight breast cancer.  Go Bob!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How Walt Disney defined my vision

Dear Walt (as in Disney),

My name is Valerie and I am simple woman from a simple background.

I grew up without the instant availability of french fries, a stoplight, or home delivery of the mail.

We lived in the Great White North, where we didn't lock our doors even when we went on vacation, kids would hold their graduation parties in gravel pits, and the first true crush I even had was a boy in 5th grade named Travis who I actually heard from on the Facebook just this morning.

No Internet.  No computer.  No cable. 

My dad was a working man, my mom a working mom, and often times money was tight.  We didn't get out of Alaska much so when we did, it was really impactful.
It is funny that I have ended up in Missouri now.  Your home state.  I have been to your hometown of Marceline (ate some Sonic.)  Stood in your dad's old butcher shop.  I had a job offer from the Art Institute that you briefly studied at.  You and I have ties.   :)

Which leads me to my point of this letter....
Thank you, Walt.

What is that?  you say.

Let me say it again.  "Thank you, Walt."  From one Missourian to another.

When I was in the fourth grade, my parents pulled me out of school for an extended vacation during the school year.  My dad was a roofer so we were not able to travel in the summer.  That was work season.

So, we tromped around Hawaii and then spent some time in California, in which we got to go to Disneyland.

I remember all of it very clearly, including coveting the Minnie Mouse stuffed animal with the polka dot dress and the big red bow that I wanted sooooo bad but was too scared to tell my grandma when she asked me if I wanted anything. 

There is one ride that just completely bowled me over.

It's A Small World. 

I never knew such a world exsisted.  

I knew the song before I knew it was a ride.  I had the record you know.

It wasn't the ride itself that impacted me.   It was the pictures my mother took during it that so profoundly influenced me---after the ride.

After we got home and she eventually put the pictures of the dolls from the ride in an album.  I looked at them so much growing up that I thought I would look the ink right off the paper.

I wanted to be where those dolls where.  South America.  Asia.  Scandinavia.  See the costumes.  Hear the music.  It spoke to my soul, even as a kid. 

I never forgot that there was a whole world out there, waiting for me to see it. 

So I've gone.  A lot.

A couple weeks ago we went to Disney World for my first time, and we went on the Small World ride. 

And those feelings from 33 years ago came flooding back to me. 

This time, I took my own pictures so I can visit whereever whenever I want to.  :)

Thanks, Walt, for your vision.  It has broadened mine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Southern Superlatives

When I was in high school, they had goofy awards called "Senior Superlatives."
You know them.....awards voted on by your classmates.  There was"Best Dressed" (I didn't win that--surprised?  :) ), "Best Hair" (I didn't win that either--I mean I should have....I have had the same hair since 3rd grade so it must be working), and "Best Couple" who of course broke up not too long after marriage and have remarried other people.  I did have a serious boyfriend so I technically could have won that one with him, but ends up that he was really gay and it can neither be confirmed that I was his "beard" for the time.  Apparently my classmates knew we weren't the best couple...which a good friend should have pointed it out.  Thanks Sheri.

Man, sure miss high school.  Not.

Mr. Fun should have won "Best 501s" (seriously), and "Best Dressed" but he was beat out by the one dress outfit the winner wore often.  I voted for him in both categories.  He should have won "Smartest" too....I mean after all, he did marry me.  :)  (In case you don't know, we went to high school together which is fun when we hear girly gossip about our hometown we can equally enjoy it).

I did actually win some superlatives.  "Most Spirited," "Everybody's Buddy," and "Most Unforgettable."  Nothing to do with clothing or hair.  :)

So, having just spent basically a month in a moving vehicle, traveling 5,909 miles in the last 30 days, it gives you time to think. 

I noticed that I had an overabundance of leg hair.  Which wasn't my fault since I hadn't had a hot shower in three days in our hotel in Florida. 

I noticed that the back seat is more spacious than the front.

And it gave me time make up my own "senior superlatives."  Southern style.
And the winners no particular order:
~Southern Superlatives~
Smelliest state:  Louisana (until the end when it smelled like potato salad with pickles)
Worst city to drive in:  Nashville, Tennessee
Unexpected surprise of beauty:  Eufuana, Alabama
Coolest trees:  a tie     Cemetery in Florida
                                    Driveway of plantation in Charleston, SC
Biggest chain:  Not Wal-Mart.  Cracker Barrel
Prettiest temple grounds:  St. Louis, Missouri
Biggest Sassafras tree:  As the sign said, "probably" Owensboro, Kentucky
Smellest mildew hotel room:  Little Rock, Arkansas
Missed opportunity:  Vicksburg, Louisana
Longest duration we were lost:  Sulphur Well, Kentucky for one hour
Best recycling of a fort:  Fort Moultrie (for five wars) Charleston, SC
I can't stop staring:  Star Wars Convention, Orlando Florida
Something Sheri missed out on:  Willie Nelson Gift Shop, Nashville, TN
Total states driven through:  12
Peaches from the side of the road:  South Carolina
Best chinese food:  Orlando, Florida
Biggest invocation of "white man" guilt:  Slave cabins of Boone Plantation Charleston, SC
What were they thinking?  Stone Mountain  Atlanta, Georgia
Strangest things we heard on the radio:  tie:  gospel tent revivals (Alabama)
                                                                       Kasey Kasem Countdown from 1971 (Florida)
Sisters doing it for themselves:  Sweetgrass baskets of Highway 17, Charleston, SC 
Looks like Missouri:  Northern Arkansas
Worst drought:  Missouri
2nd smelliest state:  Alabama
Coolest "Gone with the Wind" southern staircase:  Bowling Green, Kentucky
Boiled peanuts on the side of the road:  Georgia
Best hosts:  tie  Andersons:  antiquing, Shark Week, fried green tomatos --Georgia
                         Phillips: Cuban, beach, Star Wars Dave--Florida
You might go to jail if you take a rock from the ground:  Fort Sumter, SC
Speedy drivers:  the entire South
No hot water in the hotel:  Orlando, Florida
Best dead ancestors:  Exie, Kentucky
Rudest guests:  tie:  Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
                                Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida
Marketing snafoo:  Hurricane Isaac report followed by the "Come visit the Gulf" campaign
Best Marilyn Monroe impersonation:  The Girl in her Sunday dress in front of the chip delivery guy
Best meditative moment/God is Amazing:  Daytona Beach, Florida at night
Safari vacation location sign:  Peru  Arkansas
Most admired "genuine Mormon":  Daniel Logan
Looking out for my best interest:  John Tesh and his helpful tips Lousiana
Almost vomit your Mexican dinner on the space ride:  Epcot, Orlando Florida
Makes me want to march:  Selma, Alabama
Hooary!:  Boyfriend emails the address Atlanta, Georgia
Darkest black:  Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Bug Holocaust:  Louisana
You are kidding me: Kingdom City, Missouri (the air conditioning stopped working three hours into the 17 day trip....nice)
Holy Ghost moment:  Charleston, South Carolina
Opps!:  Missed three birthdays
You are kidding me Part 2:  Hurrican Isaac interrupts the convention and no New Orleans on the trip
Nicest homeless man:  Burger King, Daytona Beach, Florida
No hot water in public restrooms:  the entire South
Largest speedway:  Daytona, Florida
Best town name:  Jane, Missouri
Probably not again:  Disneyworld Orlando, Florida
No paper towels in restrooms:  entire South
Eaten alive by mosquitos:  Charleston, South Carolina
Best Henna tattoo:  Epcot Orlando, Florida
Best handbar moustache on a monk:   Mepkin Abbey, Monks Corner, S Carolina
"We almost died":  Freeway, Jacksonville, Florida rush hour in the rainstorm
It is really red dirt like on Tara Plantation:  Georgia
You know you're in the south:  4 windows in a trailer covered with Confederate flags Kentucky
New found loves:  tie--not cooking for 17 days
                                     watching tv in bed
Should have left it at home:  Tolkein book, DAR application
Stangest stowaway in the car:  Dave's church suit
Is there somewhere to pull off for a picture:  the entire South
Irony:  "Trees for the future."  Next to a grove of dead trees  Arkansas
Weird to see:  going to the beach with friends you never seen in swimsuits  Florida
Third smelliest state:  South Carolina
The most argumentative member of our group:  The TomTom (Garmin).  Named Leia.
Walmarts on the side of the road:  28 (The Girl had guessed 27)
"You've been talking in your sleep:"  The Girl  entire south
Best religious song I have ever heard:  1st song by the monks
Smoothest reflective water:  Florida
Best car snacks:  melted clumpy snackwells
Favorite t-shirt slogan I saw:  "I had friends on that Death Star."  Florida
Prettiest views:  Arkansas and Tennessee
Best gas station:  White Oak Rogers, Arkansas
Movie star interaction: Seth Green Orlando, Florida
Pharmacy of the South:  Walgreens.  CVS?  Forget about it.  Entire South
Odd couple:  bacon lollipop  Arkansas
Temples seen:  5
Boringest landscape:  Missouri
Best Salad:  Orlando, Florida
Most humbling moment:  Precious treasures of slaves South Carolina
Cheapest Meal:  Rich Hill, Missouri
Most states covered in one day:  6
Best imitation of a baked potato:  Stone Mountain, Georgia
Rick Springfield's "best work":  Jessie's Girl  Arkansas
Most new buildings:  Joplin, Missouri
Best guest driver:  Dave  Florida
Favorite unexpected stop:  the abbey  South Carolina
Party like a rock star:  The stylist, costume mistress, chef, drivers, and handlers
Priceless:  Time with my daughter and great friend Carol :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"If you are not a Sith Lord, wait to be called."

Tonight ends the fun and games of life in a galaxy far, far away.

Fortunately for you, we had one last day full of trooping, costume handling, and lots of mostly naked women.

In no particular order:
*Aubrey attended some super bash last night and got to meet some famous people I have never heard of.  :)
*48 "Slave Leia" costumed chicks
*12 folks in kilts
*Count Dokou and OB1 Kenobi had to run and catch the bus.  Why didn't they just use the Force to stop us from moving?
*No hot water in our hotel room
*Class called "Ladies of the Legion."j
*The jedis on the bus got so excited to get to the conference that they shoved their way off before everyone else.
*Jesus was there again today.  This time he was in a volunteer shirt and modeling service to others.
*I wore my "It's A Von Trapp" t shirt.
*"I didn't join to be awesome.  It just happened."  Aubrey
*Met a guy named Ted (from Tampa) who hung out with us for a while.
*Stormtroppers had chapped thighs.
*There was a Royal Red Guard Flash Mob with Darth and the Emperor.
*Talk about a photo frenzy.
*"You should put your spanks on before you put on that costume." Ouch.
*"If you are not a Sith Lord, wait to be called."
*"Bounty hunters to the left.  Sith Lords to the right."
*Near fist fight between Padme in her travel outfit and some foreign woman.
*Beaker Stormtrooper checked his head in coat check.
*There was a wedding performed on the stairs after the bad guy photograph.
*We ate lunch with a Jawa.
*One of the Boba Fetts was carrying a cowboy gun and holster.
*A Jedi Robe set costs $800
*Carol and I did a lot of people watching.  And mocking.  Good thing Service Jesus wasn't around us.
*There was a Darth Vadar with a garbage bag cape.
*There was a Han Solo with a pig head.
*T shirt that said "I am kind of a big deal in Wisconsin."
*Grandma with knitted buns for her hair.
*There was a Leia with fishnet stockings.
*Tiny baby Wookee
*Joker was there
*Spare tires on a body are not good.  Spare tires painted blue are even worse.
*There was a sign that said "Jason loves boobies."  Maybe he should meet those Boobie Fetts.
*Last but not least, two Boba Fetts in leisure suits.

This is my second convention. It was fun to be with Aubrey and Carol.  It was fun to have a costumed member of our party so that we can learn the inside secrets of the convention.  I am glad I came.

Pictures today:

Since the hurricane is coming tomorrow, we are going home a day early.
Hope you have enjoyed the convention.

Friday, August 24, 2012

CVI Day 2: "Chewy Envy"

Steller day today.

20 Slave Leias.  One with a Batman tattoo.  Duh.

I went early with the girl to be her handler (translation:  carry her junk around) while she was with the other troopers so regular folks can get their pictures with her.

I took notes for you, "non geeks" as I learned I was today so you could enjoy the day, too.

In no particular order:
*Everyone went through a weapons check today.  Apparently others thought they should be checking the plastics guns yesterday too.
*A little Darth Vader was told by his mom today when he was by R2D2 that he should have "nice touches" on the robot.
*It is amazing the impromptu photo shoots that go on here.
*When the Slave Leias showed up at the photo shoot, one guy said to his buddy "I must have."
* There was a very "interested" Tuskin Raider.  He had no camera.  Took his helmet off.  Obviously taking pictures with his heart.  Duh.
*Men ran up to see the Leias.  "That is a SWEEET line up.  Delicious!"
*Saw 13 kilters today
*Bigger Boobie Fett today (I don't name them)
*"I had to put my hand in my pee."
*Daniel Logan, the little boy who was Boba Fett:  genuine Mormon!
*Love was in the air at the "Plan your Star Wars wedding" class.
*Miss Australian United Nations, fully in sash and crown, was at the celebration.  ?
*"Mixed fan-dom marriages can work." (translation:  star wars fan/lord of the rings)
*"those people"....(regular non star wars fans) (us)
*I gave away a free dinner coupon to a nerdy man that came to the conference alone.
*"It's raining men" sung by a man in a bowling shirt
*A little happy surprise: hotel shuttle to the center
*"My high heels make me tall and awesome."
*A Chewbacca guy we were with said he had "Chewy envy" because he had left his chewy stilts at home in Wisconsin and the other Chewys had theirs here.  Epic fail.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

CVI Day One: "The Dark Side of Sushi"

I didn't know.

And I bet you didn't either....that Sushi had a "dark side."  But it is true.

How do I know?  Learned it in Star Wars Japanese Vegetable Carving Class today. :)

As you can imagine, the day was filled with such delicious little morsels of fun that I kept notes just to share with you.  Why?   Because I love you...just like Mr. Rogers.

And in no particular order:
* I felt snobby, being the owner of a four day pass compared to those losers with just a single day.
*We saw that person of short stature that played the main Ewok, Wicket.  He was also in Willow.  He was riding a segway while we were walking our almost 12,000 steps today.  Learned his name is Warwick Davis.
*There is some serious fictional world cross pollination.  For example, the Burger King king was wearing storm trooper costume.  And doing naughty things with his hips and plastic hamburger.
*We saw seven "Slave Leias."  And a "Boobie Fett."
*The Dark Side has it's own clubhouse.
*I saw a 70 year old grandma dressed in matching Jedi robes with her tiny grandson.
*There was a woman who shaved her head.
*In the conference brochure, after the question if flash photography was allowed, was the burning question on whether the Death Star could be destroyed by one single ship.  It was funny.
*Lots and lots of little girls.  Move over Disney Princesses, Amidala in the house.
*There were fake guns everywhere and not a single screening machine.  At least we were hoping they were fake.
*Saw 8 men in kilts.
*There were Sith cheerleaders.  Aubrey says it is so they have an excuse to dress like "skanks."
*Jack Sparrow was dressed in some storm trooper pieces with his pirate costume.
*We went to the "Fettastic" class about the actors who played Boba Fett.
*Boba Fett was married.
*There was some crazy groupie girl at the Fett lecture.  For real.   And she had some panties to fling up to the stage.  For reals.
*Carol said the groupie was certainly "determined" to get the attention of the Boba buddies.  True that.
*There was a bald man wearing Princess Leia bun hair.
*The Japanese vegetable carver was a humble kind man, who also does samurai Jedi meditation.
*We saw Jesus in a Dark Side bowling shirt.  He had a girlfriend and a tattoo.
*Cool t-shirt that says "I am the rebel spy"
*Carol almost won a free t-shirt that was thrown into the crowd, but some grabby woman behind ripped it out of her hands, causing us to find a chiropractor for her dislocated back (jk--mostly).
*A wookie puppet cat-called Aubrey.

Here are the pictures from today.

CVI Eve pics
Got the Facebook working.  Will be adding the link to see pictures on the blog so you can enjoy the photographic "proof" as my favorite Englishman Dave said.  :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Embedded in the Star Wars Convention--CVI Eve

Tonight, at dinner, we heard the following comment from the neighboring table:

"Be careful.  Yoda is easily excitable at parties."

That is when I knew that I had to borrow Aubrey's notebook and officially "embed" myself (along with Carol Tallant, the world's greatest sport this week) to share with you a day-by-day report of what it is like to attend the Star Wars Convention this week in Orlando.

It is actually known as C VI (Convention Celebration 6).  Just to be sure everyone in the greater Orlando area knows why the residents in room 3203 (us) are here, The Girl taped notebook paper into those giant shapes on our windows.

I would like to show you some pictures, but as it is in war, sometimes those "luxuries" will have to be put aside (translation:  we have had Internet problems in this hotel since we arrived).

So tonight there was a pre-celebration party at the local Uno restaurant.  The entire building was filled with members of the 501st (official club of costumers for Star Wars) members, including the world president who came to our table to say hello.  He was probably disappointed at our reception (Him:  Hi, I am Kris and I am the 501st LCO.  Me while shaking his hand:  Hi.  Sorry, I have no idea what that means or who you are.)  I knew that he must have been SOMEBODY because the table before us the woman about hyperventilated and kept saying "you are so famous."  And she meant it.

I kept some notes that I wanted to share with you:

We saw 5 men in kilts

People were already wearing their conference badges even though it hasn't started yet

Tshirts "Darth Vadar lives" and "I always wear a helmet"

Aubrey said she would date Han Solo, Captain Moroni, Ammon and her current man Jon.  In that order.

Members of the costumers from Australia were wearing matching SW bowling shirts

Our server's name was Greg.  He was cute but kept calling us "girls."  Of course I corrected him.

There was a guy in a giant rabbit costume wandering around.  I don't think he was with the troopers, but one can never be sure.

A hurricane is slated to hit Orlando by Monday afternoon.

Last but not least, we saw the man who played R2D2 having drinks at the hotel bar.  No doubt feeling jealous that the giant rabbit is so much bigger than him.

See you tomorrow.  :)  Valsy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Clean Hands Bakery

They (whoever "they" is) say that more kids in this 20-something generation are starting non-profit charities more than any generation of people before them.

They haven't said what it is called when a 10 year old does it.

Yep, Alex Wood was 10 years old when he started his non-profit "Clean Hands Bakery."

"You have to have clean hands to bake," says Alex of the name.

Recently highlighted in Heifer International's international magazine, imagine my surprise when it is a local boy from right down the street in a local Kansas City suburb.

He bakes and then sells his products.  All the money he gets he donates to Heifer International to help end world hunger.

And he began doing it when he was ripe old age of .....9 years old.

Alex set a goal of raising $5,000 dollars for Heifer.  His parents purchase all the ingredients and Alex and his little brother Josh do all the baking.

They recently met their goal.  :)  Alex is now 13.

Sure, he has won awards and been recognized for his work.  But when you read about him, it is about his mission. 

As service should be.  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Jerry Barham and The Wall That Heals

They call it "The Wall That Heals."

Walls, as I think about it, aren't always considered very "healing."
There is the Berlin Wall.

Which is now in pieces around the world.  Some of which are in Fulton, Missouri. I touched it last summer. 

Designed to keep people in.

There is the Great Wall of China. 

Which is falling apart into pieces.  Some of those pieces happen to be in a film canister on my dresser in my bedroom.  I touched that in May of 2001.

Designed to keep people out.

Then there is the Vietnam Wall.

I have touched it as well.  Once in 1995 and once in 2004.  The one in Washington DC that is.

But in case you didn't know, there is another one.  A miniature one called "The Traveling Wall."

It is an exact scale replica of the one in Washington, but is carefully brought to the people around the United States.

Carefully carried to the regular folks who don't have the money or frequent flier miles to visit the big one.

I have seen it twice as well.
If you want to feel humbled and a spirit of reverence, visit The Wall That Heals with a former Vietnam vet.

Like my dad, for example.

My dad is a simple fella, manly and sort of tucked inside when it comes to emotion.  He isn't one who has talked much about his service, even though he comes from generations of soldiers.  It was only a few years ago that he had healed enough that he bought himself a Vietnam Vet hat.  I was there that day and it was almost like it opened up that part of his heart that had been closed for 35 years.

The Boy and The Girl came along to North Kansas City to see the Wall this go around.

We got to see some maps relative to where he served.

We got to see his half-brother, Kenny, who was killed in 1969 as a 19 year old marine.

I was surprised when he picked out another name....

Glenn P.  McADoo

I had known as a kid that my dad served with a man who was killed....a buddy from his troop.  I never knew his name until this day.  Glenn.  He told us that Glenn had taken his RR to Australia and while he was there, he had fallen in love.  He had plans to return to marry the girl.  

And then he was killed.

No one in his group knew her name or how to contact her.  And that was the end of Glenn's love story.  :(

My dad served in the Army.

There was a poster for vets to sign for classroom sharing work.

All sorts of people turned out to visit the wall.  Including heros.

My dad was in the Electric Strawberry Unit. 

I love my dad.  He is a true hero to me.

There is someone else who has acted heroically recently who didn't die in Vietnam.  It is a guy you probably haven't heard of named Jerry Barham.

Jerry is a fellow Rotarian friend of mine who financially sponsored The Traveling Wall to come to KC.  He is such a nice man, it is easy to be impressed with him.  And it is not surprising that he went the distance to bring The Wall here.

When his brother left for Vietnam in the late 1960's, he left Jerry his car to take care while he was gone.

Jerry's brother never returned.  But Jerry had kept his word.  He is still taking care of brother' car.

Jerry is often found donating to the community and the greater good.  As heros are known to do, I suppose.

Thank you, Jerry, on behalf of me and my family.
As The Girl and I work to finish our membership application to the Daughters of the American Revolution,  you could see our ancestrial "fight against oppression" genes coming out that day in the t-shirts we chose to wear...

The Girl's

And this is the one I picked out from the exhibit....


I know, this day on a hot astroturf high school football field, there was no doubt there was some healing that was felt. 

God bless the USA.  :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Gift of runs in my blood

Since this is my journal in most aspects, I have to give a shout out to a little thing I have little of time.

The last six months have been a donation, a very large donation, to my God and my fellow men.

When you are in the business of giving away your time and self for free, time is often your best asset you have to give.  However, like all blessings, it can be a curse as well.

But I feel like it contributes to the "big picture" and I know it is the right thing for me to do.  And I figured out it runs in my blood.
The last six months have included working on the temple book, which included helping to put 150 years of history into ten pages.  Photographs of the temple for the book.  Lots and lots of photographs that will never be used.  Maybe some will.  Haven't seen the book yet, so I am not sure.  :)

The Temple Open House.

The Cultural Celebration.  Present to witness a miracle in person.

The Temple Dedication which included an excellant talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, author of the "in the boat" saying in our lives.


The Girl graduates with her Associate's Degree.

Significant recognitions for the photographs from the LDS Church.  The newest being that one of my prints was just selected as the photograph the KC Temple will be giving away to all their marriage couples for the next 9-12 months.  :) 

The Girl's boyfriend leaves for the 2 year mission.

My parents are moving this week.

Grieving period of Tom is at one year.  We ate ice cream sundaes at his grave (his favorite) and I put my grieving to rest.  No pun intended.

Helping ready a homeless women's shelter clothing room.

Sent Mr. Fun overseas a couple times.

Started my own Temple Worker Hostel program that has a couple staying with us three out of the four weeks.  Indefinately.

Hosted three weeks of various company.  Who we love.

Mr. Fun gets Bells Palsey.  During a dinner for 21 at our house.  :)  I hear it was a really fun gathering(we were at the ER).

Started my new Church History photography project "The Mini Mission." Haven't had a second to work on it except for one blog post.  In April.

Got The Boy passing his 9th grade year.  Barely.

Sprinkle in there is everyday life, and you can see why a girl could use a break. 

Which, technically started Thursday afternoon. 

And it has been delicious.
Seems to perfect timing to write a blog about soldiers and their service since we are heading to July 4th week.

I love a good holiday, especially this one because our besties Dave and Carol Tallant throw a big happy "Come one Come all" party.  I love to see how happy it makes Dave to do it, as well as happy everyone is when they attend.  It is a treasured annual tradition. 

But this year, this holiday season means even more to me.

Of all the things that we have passed through as a family these last six months, there is something that I have really been wanting to finish up.....

Our Daughters of the American Revolution application forms.

The Girl and I attended a DAR meeting about a year ago.  We were some of the youngest in the room by decades. 

For me, joining is a way to honor my grandparents (latest count is 17 grandfathers and 1 stud muffin grandmother) service in the way they saw fit to give.

We just received the last document of proof we needed to join, which I will ceremoniously fill it out this week....but of course, Independence Day week.

But there is more.

We took a side field trip to the Lexington Battle Field (google it) the other day on the way home from finishing RYLA.  Our first Civil War field trip.

We read there is a group for them as well....a Daughters of the Confederacy group.  Which, thanks to  grandpa James N. Lovvorn's service, we will be joining for $2 a year as well.

 (this was neat...the military school students
were doing manuvers on the battlefield)

And yesterday, we took a family trip to the traveling Vietnam Wall that has stopped in KC for four days.  We went with my dad, Joe,  a Vietnam Vet.  :)

So, while you eat your watermelon and throw your popping fireworks all over the ground this week, please think of those who gave their service to the big picture.  Because they felt like it was the right thing to do.  It must have run in their blood, too.

(the battlefield of Lexington with current military students sitting
behind the Union soldier cemetery....soo cool)